You cannot cover Ko Phangan without mentioning one of the things that made the island famous – its monthly Full Moon parties that attract thousands of young visitors every month to Sunrise beach in Haad Rin, at the south eastern part of the island. Importantly, the Thailand Tourism nowadays leans towards wealthier tours so it’s hard to tell if and when the parties will end.
The Full Moon parties began around 1988 at Paradise Bungalows in Sunrise Beach, Haad Rin. They began as small, simple parties with few participants yet as word travels fast –the island became famous among youngsters and party people from across the world. The movie The Beach (that was filmed in other places) also attracted many youngsters to the party destination – that nowadays draws 5,000-3000 people – some of whom travel to the island just for the parties.
The Ko Phangan Full Moon Party take place once a month, on a full moon night until the morning light. They start off as a colorful festival of some sort, at the local pub and restaurants area of Haad Rin, where participants draw and decorate their bodies in flashy neon lights and drink their way to the beach where the party takes place.
While the parties start early, you should come around 22:30 if you’d like to keep up until the morning. The parties have several centers that are scattered along Sunrise beach’s 800 meters; every such center has a different music genre – trance, techno, hip-hop, reggae, drum & bass, and more.
About 12 powerful sound systems are scattered along the beach, turning it to a huge outdoor club once a month, with a vibrant and free festival atmosphere, fire shows and lots of alcohol – huge buckets of beverages such as whiskey, vodka or rum, Cola, ice and water with many drinking straws, allowing many to drink from the same bucket.
I’d like to mention other parties such as Half Moon and Black Moon. Almost every day has its reason to party, but a lot less visitors attend such parties, that are held in forest clearings rather than on the beach.
Accommodation: all lodgings are completely full around the Full Moon parties and many require a longer stay of several nights, so you should book your room in advance, if you’d like to stay in the parties’ area. Of course, you could stay in other parts of the island or even in Ko Samui’ as there are transfers and cruises at all times.
My Ko Phangan Full Moon Party Tip: Don’t go to the beach barefoot as bottle remainders and cigarette buds may be scattered throughout.
Pay Attention: The Thai authorities have zero tolerance to drugs – as they should. The parties have undercover detectives seeking to catch partygoers who are doing drugs. So, for your health, safety and future – don’t be tempted into using drugs under any circumstance and don’t exaggerate with the alcohol either.
Dates of Full Moon parties in this link.